How AC/DC’s ‘Hell’s Bells’ Left Brian Johnson ‘Heartbroken’

Brian Johnson recalled being left “heartbroken” after listening to his debut AC/DC album Back in Black for the first time.

He’d left English band Geordie to replace the late Bon Scott in 1980, and learned a lot during the process of recording the record in the Bahamas with producer Mutt Lange. When he received a copy weeks after returning home, he shared the listening experience with one of Geordie’s guitarists – and remembered that he’d done it out of necessity.

“I didn’t think I would ever get a job with a rock ’n’ roll band at the age of 32,” Johnson told WMMR in a recent interview. “And it just kept getting better as the weeks went by with these new songs.” He recalled that, in a moment of doubt during sessions, he’d thought: “What have I got to lose? I’ve got a week’s holiday in the Bahamas, at least.”

One of the things he’d most enjoyed was the revelation of what he could achieve with his voice, which he learned as he worked on the album’s title track. “Mutt Lange… said, ‘Sing it higher. I’ve heard you do it.’ And I went, ‘Well, I’ll give it a try.’ And it was just like being set free from a straitjacket. Once I found out I could do it, I went, ‘Wow!’… And I just wanted to do it all the time.”

Johnson went on to explain that, due to the tight budget, he was sent back to England as soon as he’d finished his recording duties. “And I got back home, and I just went, ‘Well, I think I’ve just made a record’,” he continued. ’[I]t wasn’t even mixed yet. And it was another six weeks to two months before I actually got a copy of it that came with the mailman.”

When it finally arrived, however, there was a problem: “I didn’t have a record player in the house,” he explained. “I took it to a friend’s, the guitarist in Geordie – he had a record player – and we put on ‘Hells Bells’… I think it was a few bars in, and he went, ‘No, that’s never gonna fly. Come on, let’s have a pint.’ He said, ‘You’re singing way too high. That’s not you.’ And I was heartbroken. I just went, ‘Oh, Jesus.’ So I went to the pub and drowned my sorrows, and he said, ‘Never mind.’ But it all worked out fantastically well.”

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When Michael McDonald Told the Doobie Brothers They Were Done

Michael McDonald recalled the moment he told his Doobie Brothers bandmates that he didn’t think the group had a future, leading to their farewell tour of 1982.

He’d been a member for seven years by the time they split; and, in a new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, he recalled that the idea of splitting hadn’t been on his mind until Patrick Simmons had decided to bow out.

“I don’t think I would have ever quit the band, except when Pat quit,” McDonald said. “It just didn’t seem like the Doobies anymore… that original creative core of the band was gone. Pat had written music for the band since the beginning.”

He became even more convinced when the band tried to rehearse without Simmons. “[W]e didn’t get through one song and we all just stopped and had a look around the room. And I think it was me that spoke up and said, ‘You know, guys, I think this doesn’t feel right. I don’t think we’re the Doobie Brothers anymore. I don’t think the Doobie Brothers exist anymore. I think we need to accept that reality.’”

McDonald continued: “It was a big decision for all of us to make because there wasn’t just the guys in the band – there was close to 30 people employed by this corporation. It was their whole livelihood.” But he knew they couldn’t face a crowd. “It wouldn’t have been fair for us to get up there and pretend to be the Doobie Brothers,” he asserted.

He said he didn’t take it personally when a different lineup later assembled without him. “I think rightfully they got back together as close to the original band as they could,” he said. “[T]here was always those moments in time when you had to make those tough decisions. What’s the best configuration here for music we hope to make, going forward? …[W]as there some part of me that felt left out? Maybe, but not when I thought about it, not when I gave it a couple of minutes worth of thought and realized, ‘This is what these guys are hoping to regain their roots as a band – and you can’t fault that.’”

Following the split, McDonald soon embarked on the solo career he’d been edging towards for some time. “Looking back it was a blessing in disguise,” he said, “because at the time what I felt was, ‘Oh, now I’ve been flushed out here… I’ve written 12 good songs for an album.’ And so then that became a whole other trial of fire.”

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The Melvins Talk Kiss: Fandom, Covers, Sharing the Stage and More

The Melvins have made no secret of their long-standing love for Kiss. They’ve covered numerous songs from the famously face-painted group, including “Shock Me,” “Detroit Rock City” and “God of Thunder.”

In 1992, the trio released a series of solo EPs modeled after Kiss’ simultaneously released 1978 solo albums, complete with matching covers. The following year, Gene Simmons joined them onstage for a performance of the Hotter Than Hell track “Goin’ Blind,” which the Melvins covered on their Houdini album. Then in 1996, the Melvins opened for five shows on Kiss’ original lineup reunion tour.

We interviewed Melvins singer / guitarist King Buzzo, drummer Dale Crover and bassist Steven McDonald about their history and interactions with Kiss:

When did you first learn about Kiss?

Steven McDonald: Kiss was the first band I ever saw. I saw them in January 1976 on the second leg of the Alive! tour. I was 8.

So.. you had very cool parents?

No, an older brother, he would have been 11. I think we went with some neighbor kids, too. We had the good fortune of living only about five miles from the L.A. Forum, where the concert was.

Did seeing them warp you?

Yeah, that’s why I’m here right now, probably.

Dale Crover: The first time I saw them was probably around the same time as Steven, maybe a little bit later. Probably around 5th grade or so. I remember, we used to be able to play records at lunchtime in our classroom. Alive! and Alive II were big ones, as well as [Ted Nugent‘s] Double Live Gonzo! But we had to be careful with that one because of all the cussing. I saw them on the Dynasty tour in ’79. That was my first concert, I think Buzz was there as well.

King Buzzo: I was there, but it wasn’t my first concert. It was the first time I saw Kiss. That was the first time where I had wheels independently, where I could go where I wanted.

Crover: Definitely they’re the band for me that made me want to play music and be in a band. And when I started to play drums, that’s what I learned from, was playing along to Alive!

The Melvins Cover Kiss’ “Goin’ Blind’

What do you think about people who are critical of Peter Criss‘ drumming style? 

Crover: I think he plays really great on that live record. His drumming definitely deteriorated over the years.

Buzzo: We played with them, it had certainly deteriorated by the 1996 Tour. He was having a hard time with anything on that tour.

Crover: But if you look at old videos, he was really good. He hit hard, and I liked his style, he used a lot of bass drums, which has definitely crept into my style.

Buzzo: One thing I can say about that ’96 tour is Kiss was definitely not playing to tapes. (Laughs) No way.

McDonald: I saw that tour, and they were awesome, early in the tour.

Buzzo: This was pretty early. The first show we played with them was at the Superdome in New Orleans.

How did the crowd treat you?

Buzzo: Fine. They were all older people who couldn’t be bothered booing us. They were credit card-wielding adults, they were sitting there drinking stadium beer, they had no interest in doing anything bad. Gene told us on that tour they were doing 50 bucks a head in merchandise. Place held 17,000 people, and they’re doing 50 a head.

Crover: They had their own Kiss ATM machines right there.

Buzzo: Yeah, they brought their own ATMs, and they were stenciled with Kiss all over them.

McDonald: Was it cash only?

Buzzo: Oh no way, no no no – they’ll take whatever you got!

Crover: ..and if you didn’t have a ticket for the concert, well there were still merch booths outside.

Buzzo: They had merchandise outside, that’s the first time I’d seen that. The only time I’d ever seen merch outside before was bootleggers.

Did you get to interact with them much?

Crover: We definitely did. Gene and Paul [Stanley] are the ones who were more aware of our band. I guess we were there because there was a connection – our product manger at Atlantic used to be their publicist. She made them aware that we had done the solo records, and paid tribute to them.

Buzzo: They thought that was cool. It was a tribute, we weren’t making fun of them. But Gene played with us before that. In 1993, he actually played with us onstage at the Palladium. We did “Going Blind” with Gene.

Crover: We were in St. Paul one day, in our dressing room. All of a sudden Ace Frehley comes walking in, with a couple of friends. They sit down and they start talking.

Buzzo: It was more than friends, they were sleazy looking girls.

Crover: He was sitting there for quite a while, and we’re just kinda looking at each other. And then all of a sudden he looks around and he was like “Oh! This isn’t my dressing room!.” And gets up and walks out.

Buzzo: We were sitting there thinking, who the hell did he think we were?

McDonald: You guys never really addressed him?

Buzzo: He was busy talking to these girls saying stuff like, ‘Yeah, I’ll get the passes all worked out.’ We didn’t know what he was doing. He was in there a good solid 10 minutes too, before he realized.

The Melvins Perform Kiss’ “God of Thunder”

Do you think Kiss get enough credit? Too much criticism? 

Buzzo: They’ve always been nice to us. Gene and Paul have only been super nice to us. So I would never do anything or say anything at all that would degrade that at all. I only appreciate that. And if you had told me as a kid, that someday not only would Gene know who we were, or we’d get to meet him, but we’d actually get to play on the same stage as them, and he actually played with us in our band. It’s far more than I could have ever dreamed of, and so I’m not going to belittle that. To me that’s just an amazing thing, and I’m not going to forget it. Because I was such a big fan, and I remain a big fan.

Crover: Those guys didn’t really have any airplay besides “Beth” and they became huge. I really appreciate that, you know? They were one of the biggest bands in the world at one time, without anybody’s help.

Buzzo: And these people that were like, I like Led Zeppelin and I don’t like Kiss. And I always thought to myself, “Well, I like both!”

Crover: Kiss is what led me to Led Zeppelin. Kiss led me from Led Zeppelin to Judas Priest and to all the heavy metal stuff that I liked after that.

McDonald: I think a lot of people give Kiss shit that also love Kiss. I think that it’s kind of fun for a lot of people, whose lives have been changed for the better by Kiss, to kind of obsess on them. We had an old friend Bill Bartell [also known as] Pat Fear from the band White Flag, and he was obsessed with Kiss. He was this guy who made his way backstage at Kiss concerts when he was 14 years old, through pure obsession. But he would also do things, like in the mid ’80s, he would wait all day to get to the front row so he could throw bubblegum in Paul Stanley’s chest hair. They’re fun to do that with, for whatever reason. It’s not necessarily not a loving thing.

Was there a point where you lost interest in Kiss, or have you kept interest throughout?

Buzzo: I have not. I was done after [1979’s] Dynasty. I didn’t even buy Dynasty. But there were six albums before that that I will always enjoy for the rest of my life.

Crover: Yeah, I can listen to the early stuff, no problem.

McDonald: For me, I lost it around Dynasty. But then in the early ’80s when punk rock started becoming a bummer to me, I got back into Kiss. And Redd Kross [the band McDonald co-founded in 1980 and remains an active member of] covered “Deuce” in 1984, which was sort of a low point for them in their popularity. And then when the hair metal thing happened, I always thought Kiss were getting sort of the short end of the stick. So I had a lot of fun watching them kind of regain their throne. I would go to all those concerts – I saw the Lick It Up tour, I saw the Asylum tour, I saw them work their way back up to the Forum. Cause I saw them at the Forum in ’76, then eventually they were playing smaller rooms, like around the time of [1982’s] Creatures of the Night. I thought it was really fun. I didn’t necessarily love the music as much, but I still appreciated them. I thought that they were such pros, and really good at what they were doing, and I thought they had something to offer the landscape at that time.

Buzzo: Gene said all those records all sold over a million records – they still did good!

Crover: I liked that Redd Kross were flying the Kiss flag when it was totally uncool. We were too. The first time I ever heard them was covering “Deuce,” and I thought, “Hey! These guys like Kiss too!”

McDonald: In 1984, in our underground weirdo world, it wasn’t a very popular thing to do.

Buzzo: It wasn’t, but to us, it was the exactly right thing you should do. That was exactly what we wanted to hear.

The Melvins Perform Kiss’ “Detroit Rock City”

Have you ever listened to [1981’s ill-fated concept album] Music from ‘The Elder?

Crover, Buzzo (in unison): No.

McDonald: I remember their performance on Fridays, I used to watch that on VHS tape in the ’80s, with “A World Without Heroes,” their collaboration with Lou Reed. Bizarre. But that song “I,” I loved that song.

Buzzo: One thing I really liked about those guys, unlike a bunch of lower-tier rock star guys that are a bunch of assholes, is those guys never were assholes. To me they are real rock stars. And if those people can be nice to people like us, and not treat us like garbage, that just makes me hate the lower tier people even more. Kiss doesn’t have to do that.

I was at Disneyland. I saw Paul Stanley there. And what does he do – he walks right up to me, ‘Hey, how you doing?’ – he’s there with this entourage of people, his family or whatever, he goes out of his way to walk over and talk to me. That’s real class. Doesn’t blow me off or make me clear the hallway or any of that bullshit. If he doesn’t have to do that, nobody has to do that, and the people that do that can kiss my ass. We’ve been in situations where lower-tiered rock stars make us leave the hallway so they can walk to the stage – when we’re touring with them!

Have you ever had a bad experience with somebody whose music you love, and if so did it change how you felt about their work?

Buzzo: No, but I’ve had bad experiences, where I didn’t like their music in the first place, and then after meeting them I didn’t like it even more! If I were to meet Pete Townshend, I’ve never met him, I’d be really bummed out if he was an asshole to me. I don’t know if that would make me hate his music, because the Who are one of my favorite bands. But that would seriously be a bummer. To the point where I’m almost reluctant to go out of my way to meet someone like that, because I don’t want to have that experience.

The Melvins “1983” lineup, which features King Buzzo, original drummer Mike Dillard, and Dale Crover moving over to bass, have just released a new album entitled Working With God. It features covers of the Beach Boys‘ “I Get Around” and Harry Nilsson‘s “You’re Breakin’ My Heart.”

The Melvins Perform Kiss’ “Deuce”

You Think You Know Kiss?

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Watch Peter Frampton Cover Roxy Music’s ‘Avalon’ for New Album

Peter Frampton has released his version of “Avalon,” the classic song originally released by Roxy Music in 1982. Frampton and his band stay true to the original arrangement in their rendition, layering lush synth sounds, drums and bass. The cover is entirely instrumental, with Frampton using his distinctive guitar sound in lieu of vocals.

“The original is such a perfect piece of music,” Frampton explained in a press release. “I really wanted to get as close to the vocal inflection as I could, and I think I almost did it! It’s a sexy kind of guitar sound, like Bryan Ferry’s vocal, and I’m very proud of it.”

You can watch the Peter Frampton Band perform “Avalon” below.

The track is the latest release from Frampton Forgets the Words, the guitar great’s upcoming LP. The all-instrumental covers album finds Frampton delving into the material of many vaunted artists, including David Bowie, George Harrison, Sly & the Family Stone and Lenny Kravitz. The album’s first single, a rendition of Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” arrived in January.

“This album is a collection of 10 of my favorite pieces of music,” the guitarist explained when announcing the release. “My guitar is also a voice, and I have always enjoyed playing my favorite vocal lines that we all know and love. These tracks are my great band and me paying tribute to the original creators of this wonderful music. So much fun to do, and I really hope you enjoy it, too.”

Frampton Forgets the Words will be released on April 23 and is available for pre-order now.

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Deluxe Reissue of ‘The Who Sell Out’ to Include 46 Unheard Songs

The Who have announced a new super-deluxe edition of The Who Sell Out with 112 tracks, 46 of which have never been heard before.

The new top-of-the-line set, due on April 23, also includes both the original mono and a stereo mix of the original album, studio outtakes and early takes, 14 of Pete Townshend‘s original demos, two bonus singles, an 80-page hardback full-color book and nine posters and inserts.

There will also be a two-LP stereo vinyl package, a two-CD/two-LP mono vinyl version, a two-CD edition and a digital release. The Who are already sharing several preview songs, including early versions of “Pictures of Lily” and “Odorono.”

Check out both demos and a complete list of the super-deluxe edition bonus tracks below.

The Who Sell Out originally arrived in December 1967 as a loose concept record parodying society’s increasingly consumerist attitudes – complete with between-song jingles and commercials. The album, which sounded like a pirate radio station, was rounded out with a pop-art sleeve design created by David King, art director at London’s Sunday Times, and Roger Law of the Spitting Image television program.

Listen to Pete Townshend’s Demo of of the Who’s ‘Pictures of Lily’

Each of the band members is featured in his own made-up print ad. Roger Daltrey was said to have spent so much time in a vat of cold beans that he caught pneumonia.

“I Can See For Miles” became a Top 10 hit, while elements of Townshend’s mini-opera “Rael” would later return for 1969’s double-platinum Top 10 follow-up, Tommy.

Listen to Pete Townshend’s Demo Version of the Who’s ‘Odorono’

The Who, ‘The Who Sell Out’ Super Deluxe Track Listing
Disc 1: Mono Mix / Bonus Tracks
“Pictures of Lily” (original U.K. track single mix)
“Doctor, Doctor” (original U.K track single mix)
“The Last Time” (original U.K. track single mix)
“Under My Thumb” (original U.K. track single mix)
“I Can See for Miles” (original U.K. track single mix)
“Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand” (original U.S. Decca single mix)
“Someone’s Coming” (original U.S. Decca single mix)
Unused Radio London ad: “Early Morning …”
Unused Radio London bulletin link: “Jaguar”
Unused Radio London ad: “Tattoo”
“Rael” (New York early rough mix)
“Sunn Amps” promo spots “Great Shakes” ad

Disc 2: Stereo Mix / Bonus Tracks
“Rael Naive” (complete with organ coda ending)
“Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand” (U.S. single version)
“Someone’s Coming”
“Summertime Blues”
“Glittering Girl”
“Early Morning Cold Taxi”
“Girl’s Eyes”
“Coke After Coke”
“Sodding About”
“Things Go Better with Coke”
“Hall of The Mountain King”
“Rael (remake; IBC version) / “Track Records” outro

Disc 3: Studio Sessions 1967-68
“Glittering Girl: (Take 4, 2018 remix)
“Girl’s Eyes” (Take 2, 2018 remix)
“The Last Time” (Take 8) “Under My Thumb” (Take 3, 2018 remix with full ending)
“Our Love Was” (Take 2)
“Relax” (4-track to 4-track mix with Pete vocal)
“Relax” (Takes 1 and 2)
“Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand” (Takes 1 & 9)
“Relax” (Remake Take 4)
“I Can See for Miles” (full version)
“Medac” (Take 11)
“Odorono” (Take 3, 2018 remix)
“Heinz Baked Beans” (Takes 1 & 3, 2018 remix)
“Top Gear” (Takes 1 & 2, 2018 remix)
“Premier Drums” (Takes 1 & 3, 2018 remix)
“Charles Atlas” (Take 1)
“Rotosound Strings” (Take 1, 2018 remix
“Track Records” (2018 remix)
“John Mason Cars” (Takes 1-3) / “Speakeasy” / “Rotosound Strings” / “Bag O’ Nails” (2018 remixes)
“It’s a Girl” (aka “Glow Girl”) (Takes 1 & 3)
“Mr. Hyde” (1st stage mix Take 1)
“Little Billy” (Takes 1 & 3)
“Mrs. Walker” (aka “Glow Girl”) (4-track to 4-track mix, take 7)
“Call Me Lightning” (Take 1 backing track, stereo mix & jam)
“Dogs” (Take 3)
“Melancholia” (Take 1)
“Shakin’ All Over” (Take 3)
“Magic Bus” (Take 6)

Disc 4: ‘Road to Tommy’ 1968 Recordings
“Glow Girl”
“Faith in Something Bigger”
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”
“Call Me Lightning”
“Little Billy’s Doing Fine”
“Fortune Teller”
“Facts of Life” (aka “Birds and Bees” backing track)
“Magic Bus” (single version)
“Call Me Lightning” (U.S./U.K. mono single mix)
“Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (U.K. mono single mix)
“Dogs” (U.K. mono single mix)
“Magic Bus” (mono, longer version)

Disc 5: Original Pete Townshend Demos
“Kids? Do You Want Kids”
“Glow Girl”
“Glow Girl” (Version 2)
“Inside Outside U.S.A.”
“Little Billy”
“Pictures of Lily”
“Relax” (Version 2)
“Melancholia” (2018 remix)
“Thinking of You All the While (“Sunrise,” Version 2)
“Mary Anne With the Shaky Hands”
“I Can See for Miles”

Bonus 7″ Discs:
U.K. 45, “I Can See for Miles” (early mono mix with single-tracked vocal) / “Someone’s Coming” (original U.K. track single mix with single-tracked vocal)
Decca USA 45, “Magic Bus” (U.S./U.K. mono) / “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (original U.S. Decca single mix)

See Who Drummer Keith Moon’s Craziest Antics

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Dee Snider Covers ‘Love Hurts’ in Broadway Show Teaser

Dee Snider belts the ballad “Love Hurts” in a new video preview of the Broadway show Rock Me Amadeus.

“While I have always pushed myself to be better, working with Rock Me Amadeus Live is one of the greatest challenges of my life,” the Twisted Sister leader tells UCR. “Standing shoulder to shoulder with vocalists and musicians of this caliber pushes me to be my absolute best every song and every performance.”

The five-minute clip highlights the production’s hybrid of rock and symphonic music, melding strings, classical piano, electric guitar leads and heavy drums. Snider fronts “Love Hurts,” and fellow vocalists Chloe Lowery and Kia Warren team for a dramatic version of Alanis Morissette‘s “Uninvited,” with Tchaikovsky’s famous Romeo and Juliet “love theme” as the connective tissue.

You can watch the video for “Love Hurts” – first recorded by the Everly Brothers in 1960 and a huge hit for Nazareth in 1975 – below.

Rock Me Amadeus — set to premiere live in fall 2021, following a pandemic delay — will incorporate songs from artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Journey, Aerosmith and Nirvana. According to an October press release announcing the show, these tracks “get uniquely mashed up with the likes of classical masters and rock stars of their day, Mozart, Beethoven and Puccini.”

The production, led by opera soprano Alyson Cambridge and guitarist-composer Tony Bruno, will feature a full rock band alongside a symphony orchestra and choir. Previous teasers include a hybrid of the Police‘s “Roxanne” and “Habanera” from the Georges Bizet opera Carmen.

Rock Me Amadeus is the perfect way to make classical music and opera music sexy and cool, and to bring a whole other level of phenomenon to rock music,” Cambridge said in a statement. “The fusion of the two is like orgasms for your ears!”

Snider has previous theater experience, making his Broadway debut during an 11-week stint on the musical Rock of Ages in 2010. The singer released his latest solo LP, For the Love of Metal, in 2018; he issued a companion live record in July.

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Watch Lost Fan Footage of Led Zeppelin in 1972

Previously unseen 8 mm film footage of Led Zeppelin playing in New Zealand has been revealed after it sat forgotten for nearly 50 years.

Five minutes of the show, which have been synced to music by another archivist, can be seen below.

Photographer Lloyd Godman was 20 years old when he shot some of the band’s performance at the Western Springs Stadium in Auckland, on Feb. 25, 1972. He put the film away in his shed and forgot about it until he was recently cataloging his collection. “I knew I had this roll of film in the shed, so I sent it off to get digitized,” he told the RNZ. “I knew there was band stuff on it, but I didn’t know what it was. … It came back, and there was the Zeppelin film.”

Godman added that even though the footage is grainy, he reacted with “joy” when he saw it because it includes so many closeups of the musicians’ faces. “Of the still photographs I took, I only ended up with six shots, which were really the rejects, because the promoter had picked through the best of them and they just disappeared,” he explained. “So finding this was like finding gold really.”

The American archivist made contact after some of Godman’s still images were posted online; he said he had audio of the same show, which is how the YouTube clip came together. Godman noted while he was aware he could have sold his footage to a collector, he preferred to share it with other fans. “It’s really timeless music, some of that stuff,” he said.

“It’s so powerful, and I think the combination of musicians that came together to form the group – it was just like a giant cyclone. … It just came together, and it just formed into this amazing vortex that not only carried them along but carried everybody else along as well.”

RNZ noted that the Auckland show was attended by around 20,000 people, who’d paid between $2.27 and $3 for tickets. It was the fourth of six concerts Led Zeppelin played during their only tour of Australia and New Zealand. It followed the release of their fourth album the previous year.

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When Tom Morello Became a Stripper to Buy a Hot Tub

Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello recalled the time he became a stripper in his student years so he could buy a hot tub.

He and his roommate believed that fitting out the living room of their apartment would improve their dating lives, even though they knew they could never offer a luxury edition of the experience.

“We of course couldn’t afford a hot tub,” Morello told Howard Stern on SiriusXM. “We figured out how much money it was going to take to buy an indoor kiddie pool, a water heater and this, that and the other to simulate a hot tub. And then we worked toward that with extracurricular activity.”

He wound up working at bachelorette parties. “You’re wearing a suit, and you knock at the door, ask for a cup of sugar, [the Commodores’] ‘Brick House’ comes on the stereo … it wasn’t awesome, I can tell you,” he said. “It was weird; it didn’t last long. We were just trying to make a certain amount of money to get that horrible hot tub in our place. And then we retired.”

Morello outlined just how horrible the resulting construction was. “Having a three-and-a-half foot tall, 10-foot diameter, 101-degree roommate is a horrible roommate,” he said. When Stern suggested he could go back into the stripper business when he isn’t touring, Morello replied: “The rates have gone up considerably!”

You can hear the interview below.

The conversation led to a discussion of RATM’s famous nude protest against the PMRC at Lollapalooza in 1993. Instead of playing their 15-minute expected set, the band stood onstage for the allotted time without clothing, with tape over their mouths, each with one letter of the PMRC title scrawled across his chest.

“Ironically, this is the day the record company sent everybody down to the show,” Morello said. “’The hottest new band on Lollapalooza! You’re gonna see them in all their glory!’ And we didn’t even play! It was like a 15-minute feedback protest of nudity … and then we left the stage. I remember talking to one of the record execs afterwards, and he was like, ‘Thanks a lot for that.’ I’m like, ‘Hey, man, you sign a band named Rage Against the Machine, you get rage against the machine!’”

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Hear Ann Wilson of Heart’s Heavy New Song ‘The Hammer’

Ann Wilson continues her recent streak of singles with the heavy new song “The Hammer.”

“When the hammer comes down, grinding, grinding / When the hammer comes down, reminding, reminding,” she belts on the track over a slippery, lightly psychedelic guitar riff that conjures mid-’90s Soundgarden. “When the hammer comes down, blinding, blinding / When the hammer comes down, unwinding, unwinding.”

The song, which the Heart singer cowrote with Craig Bartock and Tyler Boley, is available to hear below.

“‘The Hammer’ talks about that moment when the rubber meets the road, when all dreams, fantasies and excuses fall by the wayside,” Wilson tweeted. “The moment of truth. The edge of reality.”

The track follows a pair of recently issued Wilson cuts, the January-issued “Tender Heart” and an October cover of Steve Earle‘s 2004 song “The Revolution Starts Now.” She called the latter cut “a powerful, uplifting anthem of unity,” adding, “It’s an incitement to think higher than polarization and derision. We need that now. I used to love this song in a ‘fun’ way. Nowadays, I take it much more seriously and urgently.”

Wilson’s most recent solo LP, 2018’s Immortal, featured covers of late artists like Tom Petty, David BowieLeonard Cohen and George Michael.

In November, Wilson announced that Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia, Sleater-Kinney) is writing and directing a Heart biopic for Amazon. The script is expected to span the story of Ann and sister Nancy from childhood through the ’90s.

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Watch Steven Tyler Join Mick Fleetwood on ‘Rattlesnake Shake’

Mick Fleetwood has released a live version of “Rattlesnake Shake” featuring Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler and ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons.

The blues-rock track – originally released on Fleetwood Mac’s 1969 album, Then Play On – gets a fittingly raucous rendition, with Tyler delivering vocals and harmonica, while Gibbons wails away on lead guitar.

You can watch the new “Rattlesnake Shake” video below.

The performance was recorded during an all-star tribute to founding Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green, held on Feb. 25, 2020, in London. “Rattlesnake Shake” is the second song released from the event, following an earlier-unveiled rendition of “The Green Manalishi (With the Two Pronged Crown)” featuring Gibbons and Metallica’s Kirk Hammett.

Other notable artists appearing during the concert event included Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, OasisNoel Gallagher, the Who’s Pete Townshend and former Rolling Stones bassist Bill Wyman.

Mick Fleetwood & Friends Celebrate the Music of Peter Green and the Early Years of Fleetwood Mac will be released as an expansive box set, available in multiple formats. The Super Deluxe Edition comes with a four-LP Gatefold vinyl, two CDs, a Blu-ray and a 20-page book. Lesser-priced versions include the performance solely on vinyl or a CD/Blu-ray combo pack. All physical formats will be released April 30 and are available for pre-order now.

Meanwhile, the Mick Fleetwood & Friends concert film was previously scheduled to hit movie theaters across the U.S. on March 23. But with cinemas closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the film will now be released via video on demand in April.

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Eddie Van Halen’s Guitar Tech Explains That ‘Jump’ Disaster

The 2007 incident when Eddie Van Halen performed the classic Van Halen song “Jump” entirely out of tune has become a celebrated story among fans.

The moment in Greensboro, N.C., is one of the few occasions when the legendary guitarist was seen to truly mess up onstage, and speculation has circulated for years that it was actually a problem with the keyboard backing track being played at the wrong pitch.

One person who always knew the true story – Van Halen’s guitar tech, Tom Weber – said he’s kept quiet about it because it was a “sore point” with his late boss. But in a recent podcast co-interview with Jeremy White and Mitch Lafon, Weber finally recounted his memory of the moment.

“It had nothing to do with the keyboards,” he said. “Ed loves to make noises with the guitar; we all know that … you’re liable to hear any unearthly sound that Ed can make with a guitar. … So, at one point, he took the guitar and literally jammed the headstock of the neck into the stage several times. … My job is to be ready for him with another guitar, which I was.”

Despite lifting the spare instrument over his head to indicate it was available, Van Halen waved Weber away and appeared satisfied with adjusting the tuning of the one he had. The tech said it was “passable” but not perfectly tuned, so bassist Wolfgang Van Halen adjusted his own instrument to match. “So they’re in tune – you have guitar and bass in tune,” the roadie noted.

You can watch the interview below.

That worked fine for the closing songs of the main set. Usually the band came offstage before returning for the encore of “Jump,” but that night in Greensboro, the members remained on the platform, so Weber wasn’t able to swap Van Halen’s guitar as usual.

“So now you have Wolfgang on his bass and Ed with his out-of-tune guitar on a keyboard song that is in tune,” he said. “Ed didn’t have keyboards in his monitor mix, so he didn’t hear that he was out of tune. So that’s where all that went.”

He went on to say that the guitarist was oblivious to what had happened until several weeks later, when he was shown a video of the performance before another show.

“So I got called to the dressing room full of people, and he said, ‘You handed me an out-of-tune guitar.’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t.’ I said, ‘If you’ll recall, you banged the headstock of the guitar into the stage that night several times and then you didn’t come off the stage to get the guitar at the end of the show for the encore.”

You can watch the incident below.

Van Halen claimed the headstock trick “wouldn’t make any difference” to the tuning and “proceeded to jam it into the dressing room floor,” Weber explained. “And in front of a room full of people it comes back up – and it’s way out of tune. I said, ‘Just sayin’ … .’ And that’s the last I ever heard about it.”

As well as losing out on a fee from the Van Halen “kitchen sink” tour that was abandoned because of the guitarist’s ailing health, Weber noted he’s also lost out on a “banner year” of income when the live-music industry shut down over the coronavirus. He’s now fighting to keep his home. You can help by making a donation of any size at GoFundMe.

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Hear Joe Satriani on Kitt Wakeley’s New Orchestral-Rock Song

Joe Satriani adds a soaring guitar solo to “Conflicted,” a track from producer and composer Kitt Wakeley’s new album with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The three-minute tune, available digitally on Feb. 26, pairs Satriani’s layered melodies with massive strings, brass, live drums and electronics. Past the halfway point, the guitar virtuoso breaks into a signature passage full of intricate hammer-ons and bends.

You can hear the piece below.

Wakeley’s new LP, Symphony of Sinners and Saints, also features Satriani on the song “Forgive Me.” The album, out May 21, follows 2018’s Midnight in Macedonia.

“Kitt Wakeley’s ‘Conflicted’ and ‘Forgive Me’ are epic musical gems full of powerful emotions and sonic surprises,” Satriani said in a statement. “Playing guitar on Kitt’s new album has been a fun, exhilarating experience, and a musical challenge, too. Kitt’s huge, cinematic sound makes each one of his songs a powerful sonic journey. I’m so happy I was able contribute to this stellar album.”

Wakeley added, “To have someone of Joe’s talent is always a plus, but to have his creativity and input is even better. Add in the fact that he’s an incredibly nice person to work with, and you’ve got pure Satriani magic.”

Symphony of Sinners and Saints, led by Wakeley on synths and piano, was coproduced, engineered and mixed by Tre Nagella (Lady Gaga, Blake Shelton, Snoop Dogg).

In the below behind-the-scenes video, the composer details the album’s orchestral recording sessions at London’s Abbey Road Studios. “I’ve learned that if I want to do something, I say it out loud,” he says. “So I said out loud, ‘I want to record at Abbey Road.’ I mean: Beatles, Elton John, Rolling Stones. There’s just the ambiance of it. It’s almost haunting.”

Satriani, who released his Shapeshifting LP in April 2020, participated in the virtual Six String Salute concert last fall. The event, which raised money for touring and venue crew affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, also featured guitarists Steve VaiStyx‘s Tommy Shaw, the Black Crowes’ Rich Robinson and former Genesis member Steve Hackett.

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